Hoeven Announces New Initiative to Help ND Families Locate Loved Ones Listed As POW/MIA

Senator Announces Initiative at Dedication of New POW/MIA Memorial at Veterans Cemetery

MANDAN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced a new initiative he is launching to help North Dakota families locate loved ones who are currently listed as prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA). The senator announced the plan at the dedication ceremony for the new POW/MIA memorial on the grounds of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.

“One of the best ways we can honor our POWs and MIAs is by helping their families get answers and telling the stories of these brave men and women who gave their all for our country,” Hoeven said. “To help do that, I am launching a special initiative through my Senate office to help families of missing North Dakotans find closure about their loved ones.”

Last December, Congress created the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as part of the Defense Authorization Act. This agency is a consolidation of multiple offices across military branches that was created to more efficiently locate missing servicemen and women. The DPAA seeks to provide a full account of service personnel from past conflicts and ensure information is communicated to their families.

To this end, the agency has 23 teams, which it deploys around the world, coordinating with military branches and foreign governments, researching the archives of host nations, following leads, conducting interviews and examining potential excavation sites.

Hoeven said the goal is to bring the remains of missing service members home or provide an account of a member’s service and information about the incident that led to their loss. If possible, the family is notified about surviving unit members, helping to provide answers and potential closure.

Senator Hoeven encourages individuals who need help locating information about a missing service member to contact his office by calling (701) 239-5389 or by visiting his website here.

At the dedication ceremony for the PIO/MIA memorial, the senator thanked The Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club and the Second Brigade Motorcycle Club for their efforts. The groups pledged money, held fundraisers and gathered donations from individuals and businesses to cover the entire cost of the almost $200,000 memorial to honor the 461 North Dakotans who were declared prisoners of war or missing in action.

“As we stand here today near the graves of the many brave North Dakotans who served their country, we also need to remember the valiant service of those who never came home,” Hoeven said. “Thanks to the commitment of some very dedicated groups, we now have a hallowed place where we can honor our missing service members.”

The memorial is located just north of the Visitors Center and consists of three granite walls etched with scenes from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Also etched onto the memorial are the names of all 461 North Dakotans deemed prisoners of war or missing in action. Over the memorial waves the black POW/MIA flag with the inscription: “You are not forgotten.”